Sunday, August 26, 2007

40 Days News

OK, we've got so much information out there now about the 40 Days of Community, I wanted to put it all in the blog so that you can find out everything you need to know in one easy place. (See how much I care about you?)

1. Timeline
9/11 24-Hour Prayer Vigil & Day of Fasting (sign up for a 30-minute slot; prayer lists will be provided for all pray-ers)
9/15 Camp-Out at Church (overnight—bring games & camp food)
9/16 40 Days Kickoff
§ Outdoor service at 10:30 (bring a chair if you don't like folding chairs)
§ Potluck & games following (bring stuff for giant hoagies & your own table service and drinks)
§ Small Groups start meeting this week
9/30 & 10/7 Journey Class 101 (Church Membership) 4:00-6:30pm
10/6 Prayer Walk Through Our Community (more info to come)
10/14 Ministry Fair (more info to come)
10/28 Trunk Or Treat/40 Days Celebration

2. Small Groups
There are a number of options for small groups. If you would like to join a group (we have set a goal of 100% participation), you can sign up in the church lobby, or call the host of the group you are interested in. Here is the schedule of when each group will meet during the 40 Days:

Sunday: 8:30am (John Fisher; 769.6990)
1:30pm (Shaun DeKarske; )
6:00pm (Mike Majchrowski; 787-8703)--MEN'S GROUP
Monday: 11:45am (Tanya Hardaway; 796-0558)--LADIES' GROUP
7:00pm (Jim & Connie Gray; 783.5977)
Tuesday: 6:30pm (Sharon Houck; 596.2661)
6:30pm (Karen Bliss; 789.6707)--LADIES' GROUP
Friday: 7:00pm (Pam O'Neil; 764.0529)

***The books are $8.25 apiece; however, if the cost is prohibitive for you, please let us know, and we will make sure you can still be in a group--we don't want the cost to stop anyone from participating.

3. Children's Ministries
Starting September 23 (the week after the combined-service kickoff), we are moving Awana from Wednesday night to Sunday morning at 11:00, during the second service. KIDS Church will be moving to 9:30.

Here are some of the reasons for this switch:
*Attendance in Awana has been declining, partly because it is an island on Wednesday night, not supported by anything else going on in the church.
*Adult helpers for Awana have found it difficult to make it on Wednesday nights.
*We anticipate that identical worship services during the 40 Days will increase attendance at 9:30. Along with the resumption of small groups, this could place a strain on our current Sunday School by adding many kids.
*It helps reinforce our goal for members to "attend one/serve one" on Sunday mornings.

There are also further reasons for this switch; if you have questions, please direct them to Pastor Brent, the head of our Life Development Team, which oversees the children's ministries of our church.

This means that we will be in need of helpers to serve in Awana during the second service. If you would like to help out, please see or email Pastor Brent.

4. Identical Services
Don't forget--we're going to try out having identical services for the 40 Days of Community. This means we'll have the same music and other worship elements in both services. So if you want to serve in Awana, or the nursery, or attend a small group, etc., you don't need to worry about the service style--they'll be exactly the same! Feel free to attend the service that best fits your schedule.

5. The Main Thing
In all the details, don't lose track of the point of all this: It's time for us to "Get 1t Together!" We will declare as a church during these 40 Days that we are committed as a community of faith to the mission, vision, and values of PCC, and that this commitment will be demonstrated in our lives, not just in our words. Get ready for God to do great things among us!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

100% Participation

For the upcoming 40 Days of Community, we are praying for 100% participation. That means every single person in a small group for the 40 days of the campaign. Why is this so important?

  • You don't want to miss out! This is the kind of thing that promises to make a huge impact on our church. This is what people are going to be thinking about, talking about, and living out in their lives. You don't want to be outside the loop. Be aware of what's happening, and be a part of it instead of getting left behind.
  • You don't want to lose out! This is a great chance to grow spiritually. Everything that we're doing as a church for a 40-day period is going to be reinforcing each other. The worship services, the small groups, the service activities, the times of prayer--all of it fits together. If you opt out of any of the components, it makes the rest of them weaker and less meaningful and impactful for you. Don't lose out on this great chance for spiritual growth!
  • You don't want to mope out! These groups are going to be fun! They're so much more than just a Bible study--you'll be talking about what God is teaching you, and hearing about what he's doing in the lives of others; you'll also be banding together with your group to show God's love to those outside our church in tangible ways. You may just make some great new friendships with those who are on this spiritual journey with you!
  • You don't want to conk out! We need the help and support of each other sometimes to keep going. If these lessons that we learn over the course of the 40 Days of Community are to take root in our lives, we need to talk about them and live them with others. We were never meant to do the Christian life on our own, and in fact when we try, we nearly always fail miserably. We need each other to support us and stand by us and cheer us on to keep us going.

It's very simple--for our church and for each of us as individuals to get everything we can out of these 40 days, we need to get involved in it. We have to give ourselves to it because we're only going to get from it what we put into it.

Nevertheless, you may still have some reservations about getting into a group:

  • What if I have an unusual schedule? We're trying to put together groups that will meet all schedule needs. If you desire to be in a group, sign up and let us know your schedule needs, and we will do everything we can to match you up with a group.
  • What if I can't afford the book? We're working on trying to acquire free books from other churches who have already done 40 Days of Community and have leftover books. We will use these resources to offset costs and even provide some materials free of cost for those who need it. Please don't let money prevent you from getting everything out of this campaign that God wants you to experience.
  • What if I had a bad small group experience in the past? I know that some people have tried to participate in a group before, and it didn't work out for whatever reason. That's no reason to never try to connect with any people ever again! The truth is that we can never be what God intends us to be without the direct involvement of other people in our lives. We all need to keep trying until we find the right group for us.

If you are still unsure about groups, talk with me! I am confident you will not regret joining with other people for these 40 days, and I'm also confident that if you choose to skip out, you will not get the full benefit of this campaign. Commit right now to letting God work in your life; commit to taking part in this campaign. We're praying for 100% involvement!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

40 Days Of Community

Alright, it's time to get ready for 40 Days of Community, coming 9/16!! Here's an overview of this dynamic moment for our church:

1. PURPOSE: We can't ever forget why we're doing this. We need to unite as a church around our mission, vision, and values. These are the most important things in the world--more important than our careers, our possessions, our entertainment options, or our personal preferences. They are what hold us together in community.

2. PREMISE: "Let's Get 1t Together!" If we can come together and pursue our mission, vision, and values with single-minded determination and persistence, trusting the power of God to bless the obedience of his people, we will see him do great things in our midst. As Pastor Brent reminded us this morning, God's promises are fulfilled only for the obedient.

3. PREPARATION: We need everyone to prepare their hearts and minds to hear what God has to say to each of us individually, and to all of us corporately. I believe God wants to move us to a new level as a church--where we are passionate about PCC's mission, vision, and values; and where we can be authentic and real with one another, sharing and carrying one another's burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ. Preparation happens through PRAYER. PRAY for this campaign and what God wants to do in your life and in the life of our church.

4. PARTICIPATION: We are praying for 100% participation in this campaign. That means every single person in our church in a small group for these 40 days. If you're already in a small group, great! If not, we'll have options for you to plug into. It's only for a few weeks--I promise, you won't regret making this commitment.

4. PIECES: Here are the different campaign components that make up the PCC version of the 40 Days of Community:

  • Weekly small groups, starting the week of 9/16--one version for adults and another for teens, all centered around each week's theme.
  • Daily journal that will lead you to scriptures and prayer centered around each week's theme--daily journal and small group studies are combined in one easy volume.
  • KIDS Church focused on each week's theme--all ages will be learning exactly the same lessons at the same time, all on an age-appropriate level. These multiple reinforcements aid learning and foster family discussion.
  • Identical Services--both services (9:30 & 11:00) will offer contemporary music. Now you can choose the service that fits your schedule best!
  • Special Events--24-hour Prayer Vigil & Day of Fasting (9/11); 40 Days Kickoff Service (9/16); Prayer Walk in our Community (10/6); Ministry Fair (10/14); Local Missions Projects, including Trunk Or Treat (10/28); Celebration Service (10/28)
  • Combined Worship Services--We'll be starting and ending the 40 Day journey all together with a combined service at 10:30 on 9/16 and another one in the evening on 10/28.
5. PRODUCT: A clearer sense of purpose, a greater commitment to God and his church, an enthusiasm for reaching out to others, and a passion for advancing his kingdom.

Please don't miss this chance to be a part of what God wants to do among us. Plan now to clear out whatever you need to clear out, in order to make room for 40 Days of Community. For 40 Days, let's commit to doing this right, and "Let's Get 1t Together!"

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Our new message series starting August 12 is called "McFaith." The Key Three of Pathway Community Church are Real Spirituality, Real Community, and Real Story--these are the things we need to do to be effective, faithful, and fruitful as a church. But lately I've been thinking about what derails churches and turns people away from Christ, and I think it's the doppelganger cousins of these three core values--McSpirituality, McCommunity, and McStory.

You see, people can spot a counterfeit a mile away. People know when our words and our lives don't line up. And this is not so much about whether or not we are perfect; the world isn't looking for perfect people (they know that's a stupid thing to look for). It's not about whether or not we meet our own standards because nobody meets their own standards; everyone, by their own admission, is sometimes selfish, dishonest, irresponsible, lazy, or whatever.

This McFaith series is about pretending to be perfect when we're not. It's about pretending to have it all together when we don't. It's about arrogating to ourselves the responsibility to tell everyone else what's wrong with their lives, when we're having plenty of trouble with our own. People hate that. I hate that. God hates that. It's ugly and repellent.

There is a counterfeit faith that is running rampant in contemporary American Christianity, and we have to stamp it out. It is a spirituality that is all knowledge and no deeds. It is a community that is self-centered, self-serving, and self-absorbed. It is a story that is arrogant, condescending, and rude, when it even gets told at all.

This is not the faith that Jesus calls us to, and it is not acceptable for his people. We need the real stuff, not McFaith. That junk-food faith won't feed us, won't nourish us, won't satisfy us. It will only make us fat and unattractive. Let's get ourselves set to enjoy Real Spirituality, Real Community, and Real Story!